The UK Sector in the Context of the Covid-19 Pandemic

Introduction

Health and social care indicate the services that are made available to the patients for their ill-health to be improved to support their enhanced health and well-being. The purpose of health and social care is to ensure sustainable public healthcare services delivery, transform hospital care to ensure healthier and longer life of patients, support NHS in providing high-quality safe care, secure workforce required for adequate care delivery and others (Woo, 2017). In this report, an overview of the health and social care sector in the UK on the wider context of Covid-19 pandemic is to be discussed. Thereafter, the way it would impact the prospect to enter health and social care sector as a career is to be explored. Further, structure, function and culture of king's Fund is to be discussed along with the relation of them with its stakeholders by applying theories and models of healthcare.

LO1 Discussing overview of health and social care sector on the wider context of COVID19 pandemic

In the UK, the health and social care sector is mainly managed under the supervision of the National Healthcare Service (NHS) that is the public funded healthcare system in the country. The health and social care are divided by the NHS into different types which are primary care, secondary care and tertiary care. The primary care is referred to as the first point of healthcare contact for the people in the sector which is usually delivered by the pharmacist, general physicians and others (nhsproviders.org, 2019). The secondary care is referred to the hospital and communicate care provided in the UK which are either planned or selected by patients with support from the physicians (nhsproviders.org, 2019). However, the tertiary care is referred to the specialized treatment provided under specific health condition to the patients (nhsproviders.org, 2019). It is reported that till April 2020, there were 217 NHS providers for tertiary and secondary care with 147 NHS foundation trust and 70 NHS trust along with various non-NHS charities working to deliver health and social care in the UK (kingsfund.org.uk, 2021).

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In UK, the first Covid-19 patient identified who developed the disease due to being affected by Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) was identified in January 2020 (Flynn et al., 2020). The number of Covid-19 cases has since then been increasing which created a wider influence on the health and social sector of the UK. In 2019, the NHS reported a record high number of nursing vacancies that is 12%of full-time registered nursing post were empty that equate to 43,617 missing nurses in the sector (Mitchell, 2019). This high shortage of nursing staff in the NHS has led the health and social care sector in the UK to face vulnerable condition to manage the Covid-19 pandemic. This is because shortage of nurses has led increased work burden on the existing registered nurses and has ability to cause burnout of the senior nurses (health.org.uk, 2021). The Covid-19 situation along with shortage of nursing staff has affected the health and social care sector of the UK to face struggle in clearing the backlog of cancelled operation for tertiary care patients along with cope with delivering adequate care to the rising number of patients with Covid-19 emergency (health.org.uk, 2021). In the UK, shortage of healthcare staffs has also been created in the current Covid-19 pandemic situation due to death of nearly 850 health and social care workers as reported till November 2020 (etui.org, 2019). This indicates that Covid-19 pandemic in the UK is responsible for worsening the shortage of health and social care workers by creating more deaths among them which is leading to create increased burden of care on the existing working registered nurses.

The working condition in the UK health and social care sector had always been favourable because of the presence of advanced healthcare support devices and resources in providing care for any complex diseases (Papanicolas et al., 2019). However, the current Covid-19 condition was unexpected, and the health and social care was not prepared to support its workers with adequate resource at the initial stage to protect them from getting affected by the virus. The Covid-19 situation has influenced the health and social care sector in the UK to produce and deliver more PPE kits to each of their frontline healthcare workers. This is because the PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) kits are only resource present for the frontline healthcare workers to avoid them getting affected by Covid-19 which is infectious disease while caring for the patients (Katharine, 2020). At the present, it is reported there are nearly 1.6 million NHS staff in the health and social sector who require varying number of PPE kits to be able to work in safe way (Katharine, 2020). In 2019, nearly 2.4 billion PPE kits items been circulated in the sector which mentions meeting nearly three quarter of the demand of PPE kit items for safe working by staffs (Katharine, 2020). This indicates that the health and social care in the UK is trying with positive intention to meet healthcare resource demand in the current Covid-19 situation like in previous situation to ensure better healthcare can be provided.

In contrast, the amount of PPE kit current presented in the UK healthcare sector is however not sufficient for supporting safe working of all healthcare professional. It is evident as from a survey that mentioned nearly 2,129 doctors in the hospital in the last week along with four medics has informed they are hardly getting access to adequate PPE kit items. The survey also mentioned 27% doctors reported that they are not getting access to PPE Kits to keep themselves safe from getting infected by Covid-19 while taking care of the infected patients (Campbell, 2020). Thus, it can be seen that Covid-19 has create adversities regarding safe working condition of health and social care staffs in the UK.

In the UK long-term elderly care sector, difficult working condition with the advent of Covid-19 pandemic is seen. This is because many health and social workers in the sector has exacerbated lack of knolwdege and training regarding the way to support elderly in the long-term care to prevent and management Covid-19 among them (etui.org, 2019). According to BBC, many of the care staff working in the care home for supporting elderly with long-term condition were often to work on zero-hour contracts or via agencies. In such condition, monitoring number of uses of PPE kits was difficult which led to cause scarcity in the time of its need to be used (Roberts, 2021). The lack of training among the healthcare workers in the health and social care sector in the UK regarding the way to manage social distancing made them face hardship in controlling the situation. It led may patients and healthcare staff to be additionally affected by Covid-19 and worsened condition of the pandemic in the country (etui.org, 2019). Thus, health and social care assessment on the wider context of Covid-19 pandemic indicates there is shortage of trained staffs and scarcity of PPE resources that are vital in the condition.

LO2 Discussing the prospect of moving into health and social sector as career pathway

The current Covid-19 situation in the UK health and social care sector has led to worsen the shortage of nursing staff by creating death of more healthcare workers and has led need of increased vacancies to be fulfilled so that adequate workforce is presence to manage the current hindered condition (Mitchell, 2019). This context of the health and social care sector in the UK indicates that there is easy career prospect for new student nurses to get recruited and remained employed. This is because the existing vacancies are urgent to be fulfilled and new student nurses being currently passed with nursing qualification would be chosen for the sector to meet the vacancies and to support existing registered nurses to get support in delivering high quality to the patient in Covid-19 situation (Thompson et al., 2021). Since the health and social sector in the UK is already devoid of enough nurses, thus there is limited chances for the new student nurses to face rejection for recruitment in the sector to initiate their career.

In the current Covid-19 condition, it is seen that new student nurses are already been involved in their coursework to get trained for emergency care standards and Covid-19 protocols to be followed in care. This makes the new nurses to be recruited in health and social care sector be adequately informed of the way services are to be delivered (southampton.ac.uk, 2020). As argued by Bern-Klug and Beaulieu (2020), lack of training in healthcare leads workers to remain confused regarding the way to work. This is because they are unaware of the way advertises and error in care are to be avoided and managed to deliver enhanced support to patients. Since the newly trained student nurses already have adequate knolwdege of the way Covid-19 protocols to be followed in care, therefore involvement in the health and social sector would be positive career prospect for them. This is because they can show greater performance at the earliest which would add to their enhanced reputation and better rapport formation with the patient (Boehm et al., 2020).

The health and social care sector of the UK in the current Covid-19 situation may be considered as a negative career prospect for the new student nurses because there is lack of protective resources required for their safe working. It is evident as PPE kit items that are required by nurses and health professionals to remain safe from Covid-19 in scare in the UK (Roberts, 2021). Therefore, in this context, the health and social care sector would be hindered career choice for nurses as they would have the affinity to be getting infected by the virus and face fatal consequences. It is argued that in the current Covid-19 condition, there is increased work pressure in the health and social care sector for all existing and newly recruited healthcare workers and professionals (Mo et al., 2020). Moreover, the salary of the nurses and health professionals in the UK health and social care sector has remained low instead of the current extra work they require to execute to meet the raised demands of managing Covid-19 pandemic. It is evident as in the end of 2020, the average salary of nurses in the health and social care sector was £25424 which is lower than UK national salary is £30,800 per annum (prospects.ac.uk, 2019; BBC, 2021). This indicates that choosing health and social care sector as career prospect in the UK would not be beneficial for people or nurses who are trying to earn more and expectation of getting salary as per the minimum average in the country.

LO3 Discussion of the structure, function and culture of the Nuffield Trust

The Nuffield Trust is one of the independent and charitable healthcare trusts in the UK who has the mission of enhancing the healthcare prospect in the UK. The organisation functions to enhance the quality of healthcare delivering in the UK by offering opportunity to make evidence-based research to be involved in practise and executing policy analysis to make enhanced policy statement to be informed to achieve the goal of delivering quality care (nuffieldtrust.org.uk, 2021). In the Covid-19 pandemic, the Nuffield Trust has functioned to ensure creating awareness regarding the way to control the spread of the disease, provided financial assistance in ensuring better care for Covid-19 to patients, executed research to determine way to manage work stress during the pandemic among healthcare workers and others (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021).

The organisation structure followed in the Nuffield Trust in managing their aim and meeting their mission is Bureaucratic Organisational structure. According to Phillips et al. (2019), the Bureaucratic Organisational structure is a pyramidal command structure that allows orders to flow down from the top to the bottom. This mentions that the Bureaucratic Organisational structure has clarified hierarchy with rigid policies and procedures to be followed and it is based on impersonal relationships. In case of Nuffield Trust, it is seen that the Chief Executive in the organisation is Nigel Edwards who leads the Directors of the company to manage work and they lead their following fellow workers below them to ensure meeting the mission of the organisation. The trust runs a network of medical; clinics, hospitals, fitness and well-being centres and others which are managed in line with healthcare policy and procedures set from the guidance of UK government (Fanelli et al., 2020). This indicates the organisation represents a clarified hierarchy along with has rigid policies to be followed while abiding to impersonal relationship that are features of Bureaucratic Organisational structure, thus ensuring the Nuffield Trust follow the specific organisational structure.

The advantage of Bureaucratic Organisational structure is that it allows to create enhance creativity due to presence and follow of expertise and support to different levels. Moreover, such structure does not support favouritism, encourages specialisation and centralises power (Fanelli et al., 2020). Thus, the Nuffield Trust by following the Bureaucratic Organisational structure experiences these advantages. However, the disadvantages faced by Nuffield Trist on following Bureaucratic Organisational structure are rigidity at work, compartmentalisation of activity and other (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). The evaluation of the organisational culture followed in Nuffield Trust indicated it follows Hierarchical Organisational culture. The Hierarchical culture has the primary focus of creating stability and structured work practices (Ghareeb et al., 2018). In Nuffield Trust, it is seen that the leaders are involved in executing actions as per planned structured and ensure stability in quality healthcare is achieved to ensure better well-being to service users (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). The organisation that follows Hierarchical culture are seen to adhere to make clear chain of command and multiple management level to separate employees and leaders (Ghareeb et al., 2018). In Nuffield Trust, the leaders and employees are found to be separated and clear as well as systematic commands are seen to be followed from top to bottom in executing any actions in the organisation (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021).

LO4 Discussing the relationship between Nuffield Trust and its stakeholders

The stakeholders are mainly individuals who have invested in the organisation and are to be affected by the performance and operation of the organisation. The key stakeholders are employees, customers, suppliers, investors and others (Ameh et al., 2021). In Nuffield Trust, the internal stakeholders are employees and staffs working for the organisation. The analysis of the relationship of the internal stakeholders with the Nuffield Trust indicates that the workers and employees are satisfied with the way they are managed. This is because separate well-being services are found to be present for the employees in the Nuffield Trust along with support for their healthcare management which makes the employees working within the truest feel valued (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). The valued employees are seen to work with better performance and zeal in upgrading the operation of the organisation in the market (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). Similarly, it is faced by Nuffield Trust, as employee satisfaction has led them to work effectively in the healthcare sectors of the UK with enhanced reputation.

The relationship between the Trustees and Investors in the Nuffield Trust is found to be well-managed and friendly. This is evident as the organisation provides details regarding the way the investors’ money is used along with the way they are performing to support benefit with their help to the service users which is the key mission of the organisation (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). The Nuffield Trust is trading charitable organisation and in 2015, they are found to invest £100million for the public and patients in the health and social care sector in the UK which they received as profit for their performance (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021). This indicates that Nuffield Trust maintain effective consideration for their consumers to ensure finances are invested for their improved care rather been used in other inappropriate activities. The Nuffield Trust is found to have enhanced relationship with the consumers which are mainly patients and public. This is because they are found to receive positive reviews from the patients who they have serves d and provided care (nuffieldhealth.com, 2021).

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Conclusion

The above discussion mentions that the health and social care sector in the UK is mainly operated by the NHS as the governmental body. The overview of the sector indicated that shortage of staff was present in the sector which with the advent of Covid-19 has worsened the condition by causing increased death of healthcare workers. Moreover, the overview of healthcare sector in regard to Covid-19 pandemic situation indicates that there is scarcity of adequate safety resources needed by workers to be safe while providing care to patients. The impact of them in career prospect a health and social care sector in the UK is that opting the career would ensure stable employment but may make the employee be at risk of suffering from Covid-19 which at times may be fatal. The Nuffield Trust is one of the charitable organisations in the UK working to support Covid-19 situation and seen to have enhanced relationship with their stakeholders. They follow Bureaucratic Organisational structure and Hierarchical culture in executing their actions.

References

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